There were 254 athletes picked in the 2013 National Football League NFL draft, which ran April 25-27. The impact that each player brings to the game won’t be entirely clear for at least three to four years. For now, we can look at how effectively different teams covered their basic needs for the coming season.
Let’s start off with the Minnesota Vikings, who had arguably the best draft of the night on Thursday. They came into the draft with deep needs at linebacker, wide receiver, cornerback and defensive tackle. Due to trading Percy Harvin to the Seattle Seahawks in March and trading four picks to the Patriots last week, the Vikings managed to cover all of those needs except a linebacker within the first round. This was the first time the Vikings have made three first-round selections since 1967. Later picks covered the Vikings’ needs at linebacker and solved depth issues on the offensive and defensive lines. While none of the Vikings’ picks are guaranteed to be successful in the pros, the team has managed to get a lot of potential talent at high-need positions.
Also a member of the National Football Conference NFC North, the Detroit Lions did exceptionally well in the draft. Going into the event, the Lions needed to bolster its defensive line, having lost both starting defensive ends to free agency. Coming out of the draft, the Lions made significant steps to strengthen the team’s defensive and offensive lines.
Another team that did well at the draft was the Cincinnati Bengals. The team’s top picks include a tight end, defensive end and a running back, providing plenty of offensive weapons for quarterback Andy Dalton and strengthening an already formidable front seven on defense.
The Pittsburgh Steelers came away from the draft with a series of solid picks at linebacker, running back and wide receiver. All could do a great job of replacing some players lost to free agency.
The San Diego Chargers somehow managed to land first-round talent in the team’s first three picks, landing possibly the best offensive tackle and the best linebacker available at the draft, along with a talented wide receiver.
The St. Louis Rams also managed to gain significant talent, trading 10 spots to obtain the draft’s top receiver, Tavon Austin, whose athleticism and talent has been compared to Percy Harvin’s.
The Rams also picked up one of the top-rated linebackers in the draft, Alec Ogletree.
Now, let’s take a look at some examples of more questionable draft choices. In the first round, the pick that made the least sense was the selection of quarterback E.J. Manuel by the Buffalo Bills. While Manuel is one of the more talented quarterbacks available, he could have easily been obtained in the second or possibly third round. Similarly, the Dallas Cowboys’ selection of center Travis Frederick could have been postponed until at least the second or third round. The Cowboys blundered again in their choice of tight end Gavin Escobar, who isn’t strong or fast enough to be worth being taken in the first round.
In the third round, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers picked quarterback Mike Glennon to act as a replacement for current quarterback Josh Freeman. Not only could this selection have been used to obtain a new wide receiver to act as an offensive weapon for Freeman, but also Glennon isn’t necessarily an improvement from Freeman. The Bills blundered again in round three when the team picked wide receiver Marquise Goodwin. Goodwin is under-sized, not particularly strong and has limited football experience. Like in any professional sports draft, there are plenty of other picks that probably baffled fans and experts alike.
No matter what round each player ended up in, no one knows for certain how these individuals will handle the transition from college to the professional level.
Graphic Credit: Daniel Bynum/Manitou Messenger